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Naked truth: new app detects and protects intimate photos

With the launch of iOS 11, Apple quietly debuted a new behind-the-scenes technology called CoreML. This is a framework that allows iPhones and iPads to manage complex machine learning tasks, such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence, on the device itself rather than on a bunch of servers in the cloud. Who would have guessed that one of the first major implementations of the tech would be an app that searches your device for naughty pictures?

Well, that’s exactly what Nude does. It’s an app that uses machine learning to automatically detect nude photos on your device, before locking them in a secure, password-protected vault and deleting them from the camera roll and even iCloud. What is the world coming to, eh?

The benefit of CoreML, of course, is that all the photo-scanning is performed entirely on-device and no information is ever transmitted over the internet. It has the added benefit of removing potentially embarrassing snaps from the Photos app entirely – a relief to anyone who’s ever handed over their iPhone to show off holiday photos only for their friends to swipe a bit too far through the camera roll.

Since the celebrity iCloud leaks of a few years ago, in which many compromising pictures of famous people were stolen and distributed online, people have been much more wary of keeping anything remotely risqué online. Nude is a solution to that problem, though it’s keen to suggest other functions (keeping important documents safe) so as not to alienate non-nudists too much.

Maybe you’re not sold on the concept, but as noted by The Verge, the developers of the app kept getting the same response when they pitched the idea: everyone said, “oh, I don’t have nudes — but can you tell me more?” We’d wager that although only a minority have this specific problem, many iOS users have embarrassing photos of some kind on their account.

All this hoo-ha does beg the question, why hasn’t Apple dealt with this yet? A simpler solution – and one that would be suitable for all kinds of private data – would be for Apple to allow users to lock down individual photo albums, or passcode-protect existing features like the hidden photos folder. iOS 11 brought with it lockable content in Notes, so perhaps a similar solution for Photos isn’t too far off.

Nude is a free download, but if you start using its functions properly it’ll cost you $1/£1 per month as a rolling subscription.

Download Nude